Too Good to Be True?

Old Dec 10th, 2002, 03:52 PM
A Fodors Fan
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Too Good to Be True?

Hello Fellow Fodors' Fans,

My question(s)are with regard to: (1) the HOTEL CATALONIA BAVARO in PUNTA CANA, DR and (2) Apple Vacations...

First, let me say that I've logged SEVERAL hours reading "Debbie's" website/reviews on the DR and the Punta Cana Resorts. I think the site is absolutely fabulous, BUT I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the range of responses/feedback. So why not complicate matters and post a question on Fodors too?!

Well, Fodors Fans have never let me down in the past, so here goes...

1) Our travel agent found us a 7-night All-Inclusive package (at Hotel Catalonia Bavaro) for $796 per person thru Apple Vacations (via Ryan Air??) departing this weekend (12/14/02). Is this too good to be true? Any hidden $$$ that we should be aware of? We're on a budget. Has anyone flown on Ryan Air before?

2) How is the resort? Is it truly a 5* property? Anything you would do differently if you had it to do/see all over again? If you knew then what you know now...

3) How is its location on/in Punta Cana vs. other resorts? (e.g., landscape, things to do outside/around the resort, safety).

4) The beach? (lots of mixed reviews about the seaweed).

5) Bugs - a problem there this time of year?

6) The food? Getting reservations seems to be a real production at all-inclusives...

7) Our first time out of the country - any TIPS on how we might AVOID getting sick?

LOTS here...thank you for reading. Would appreciate any/your honest feedback...

Safe Travels!

Old Dec 10th, 2002, 04:19 PM
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I can't answer all your questions but here's a few answers.

1. I haven't used Apple Vacations but ALL of the other tour companies I've booked all inclusive resorts thru do not have extra costs except airport fees/taxes (perhaps as much as about $150). I also don't know if Apple pays the $10 U.S. per person tourist card fees (included in MY package). Be sure to ask your travel agent about those two costs. Also ask if airport transfers are included (to and from the airport/hotel in the DR). Usually the all inclusive fee includes a bus transfer to and from the airport at the destination (DR---Punta Cana airport).

#3. All Punta Cana properties south of the Barcelo Bavaro resorts have some degree of seaweed. Most people say that there are isolated areas...others say less/more. Who's right? It probably depends upon which resort and the time of year. All resorts north of and including the Barcelo resorts have either no seagrass or extremely little seagrass. Therefore, the Catalonia probably has some seagrass. That being said, it usually means that the snorkelling is outstanding because there's more fish feeding on the seagrass!!! I believe all resorts in that area have at least some areas free of seagrass.

Safety...I've always found Punta Cana to be perfectly safe.

Things to do outside the resort...there are more and more things being developed all the time. There's now some independent restaurants/bars/discos/shopping plazas/etc. (even a bowling alley)!! Plus, the optional day trips are quite interesting (see coffee plantations, sugar cane fields, rice paddies, etc.). Optional day trips packages range from $50 to $100 typically...for 1/2 to full day trips.

#5. Bugs should start to be minimal (past the rainy season) now...but bring bug spray just in case.

For that price, I'd say....go and see for yourself. It's a great destination...extremely beautiful .... and I've never heard anyone complain about the beaches there....absolutely stunningly beautiful!!!
Old Dec 10th, 2002, 07:38 PM
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You CANNOT go wrong with Hotel Catalonia!
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 06:45 AM
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I think you need to look a little closer at this resort. Although it seems nice, it is hardly a 5 star resort. I looked it up on, and then visited the resort's website. Again, it looked like a decent place, but I'm guessing a 2-3 star at best. You usually get what you pay for, and generally the great price you found won't usually get you a 5 star property. The resort itself appears to be the same quality as maybe a Holiday Inn here in the states.
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 08:36 AM
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Fod Fan,

The price sounds excellent. You don't say where your flight originates, but wherever you start, that price is outstanding. Ryan Air is a charter airline used by Apple. That may mean your inflight food options may be limited, so you'll want to arrange to bring your own - sandwich/snack/dessert.
Consider what the above poster says about the CB being less than 5 star (many others think it is a 5 star, but nonetheless) your price of $70 a night, air and food and beverage included is a steal for mid-December.
As you saw at Debbie's site, there are lots of people that think the CB is great.
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 09:00 AM
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I saw this resort from the outside and it looked very nice. Keep in mind you generally get what you pay for. You will always find pros and cons for a particular resort. For the money as long as you are not expecting a true 5 star resort I would not be hesitant. We stayed at Natura Park several years ago for around the same price per person. It was very nice, and adequate for the money. Seaweed is not an issue, they do clean the beach every a.m. We did have it in Natura but it didn't ruin the vacation. My opinion also, and I was told this by a travel agent not to eat the seafood at the buffets. The fish eat coral and then you can become sick as well. Go and have fun.
Old Dec 12th, 2002, 04:39 AM
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Is this RYAN AIR used by Apple related in any way to the RyanAir of Ireland?
Old Dec 13th, 2002, 03:27 PM
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Hi Fodors Fan!

I truly recommend visiting Punta Cana. I've been sailing all over the world, and is the case with every other resort destination, you'll have your pros and cons.

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